If you’re a huge fan of vegan dips like I am, then you’re sure to love this Vegan Aioli recipe! It’s garlicky, savory, and so dreamy and the ultimate dip for potatoes. Plus, it’s so quick and easy to make!
You won’t find many restaurants that have ready-made batches of vegan garlic aioli. Good luck finding it in a store too. Thankfully, this typical egg yolk-heavy sauce is a breeze to make vegan using just a handful of everyday ingredients.
Please believe when I say the finished sauce is incredible. It’s creamy, luscious, garlicky, and rich. You’ll have a hard time believing it’s vegan (and nut-free). The best part is you can use it anywhere, like on top of grilled tofu skewers or crispy smashed potatoes, on veggie burgers, as a replacement for vegan sour cream, and so much more.
Why this recipe works
Creamy yet wholesome. No eggs needed.
Traditional aioli recipes (AKA the ones that originated in the Mediterranean) are made in a mortar and pestle with just garlic, olive oil, and salt (naturally vegan!). But, it takes a lot of arm work to emulsify these ingredients and it breaks easily, so most modern recipes use egg yolks. Yet, eggs aren’t needed for a creamy, fluffy aioli.
Here, we use tofu to build that creamy, luxurious body (it also has a neutral flavor). When blended up with some oil, firm tofu mimics the consistency of traditional aioli surprisingly well (and makes it more wholesome than your standard aioli) and acts as a natural thickener. Plus, without raw eggs, there’s no need to worry if it’s safe to eat!
Two variations included: easy and easier.
Okay, so I wouldn’t call this recipe anything other than easy. However, the cheater’s aioli I included is REALLY easy. Instead of using a food processor to emulsify the aioli ingredients together, the cheater’s version simply whisks vegan mayo, garlic, lemon, and simple seasonings together in no time.
A million and one uses.
This rich and garlicky sauce is endlessly versatile. Swap plain vegan mayonnaise for garlic aioli when you’re craving extra savoriness, use it as a dipping sauce or spread with both roasted vegetables and vegan junk food, or drizzle it over your favorite salad or grain bowl. It also happens to be a naturally vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free condiment, so you can enjoy it with all of your favorite snacks!
PS: If you’re looking for another flavor-heavy condiment that can be made in just minutes, my Vegan Ranch Dressing is a must-make!
Firm tofu. Blended tofu gives this vegan aioli a luscious texture and neutral flavor (plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s nut-free). Soft or silken tofu also works well, but you’ll need to squeeze out as much water as you can first to avoid a watery aioli.
Using tofu also keeps this recipe nut-free for those dealing with allergies. If you happen to have a soy allergy, try the cheater’s aioli option instead.
Garlic. Finely grated garlic adds a bold, zingy flavor that’s essential to aioli, but briefly macerating it in lemon juice mellows its pungent bite.
Lemon zest and juice. This dip is bright, zesty, and zingy thanks to fresh lemon zest and lemon juice.
Aquafaba. AKA the liquid from a can of chickpeas. I usually reserve aquafaba for sweet vegan desserts, like my best-ever brownies and banana bread. However, making aioli with aquafaba gives it a frothy, whipped quality.
Avocado oil. Aioli needs to be rich and avocado oil gets this done, no problem. It’s mild in flavor but if you prefer a stronger olive oil flavor, feel free to use extra virgin olive oil instead. I like to use half avocado oil and half extra virgin olive oil for extra flavor without overpowering the entire aioli.
White pepper. For a sharp and bright peppery flavor. Use black pepper if you can’t find white pepper.
First, grate the garlic. A cheese grater or microplane will make this easy.
Add the garlic to a bowl along with the salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Stir, and let the mixture rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This time will tone down the strong flavor of raw garlic.
Froth the aquafaba. Add the aquafaba to a food processor and blend until it’s frothy and light. Pour the garlic-lemon mixture into the processor and blend again. Lastly, add the tofu and blend one more time.
Add the oil. Slowly drizzle the oil into the spout while the mixture is blending. Don’t pour the oil in all at once.
Refrigerate. Transfer the sauce to a jar, airtight container, or squeeze bottle and place it in the fridge for a few hours. The time and cold temperature will help it thicken and allow the flavors to get to know each other.
Afterward, serve it any way you like and enjoy!
Want to save time? Make the cheater’s aioli recipe in the second recipe card instead! It’s quick and doesn’t require any tools except for a bowl. Plus, it’s outrageously delicious.
Tips for making this recipe
Raw garlic is really powerful.
Briefly macerating the garlic in the lemon juice, salt, and mustard mellows its sharp pungent flavor.
I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the garlic. If you accidentally use too much, the flavor can be overpowering.
Make sure the aquafaba is frothy.
This can be hard if you’re using a large food processor. To ensure it becomes frothy and airy, hold the base of your food processor and slightly tilt it to the side so that the blades can reach the aquafaba.
Let it chill.
Yes, you can use the aioli as soon as it’s mixed together, but it’s so much better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours! The texture will thicken and all of those amazing flavors will meld together.
Ways to use vegan aioli
- Drizzle it over crispy smashed potatoes or roasted potatoes.
- Use as a dip for French fries or sweet potato fries for dipping, or for something lighter, pair with a crudités and cracker platter.
- Spread it on sandwiches or veggie burgers instead of regular mayo. It’s particularly amazing on a thick slice of ciabatta or sourdough with my BBQ tempeh piled on.
- Use it to make roasted vegetables taste even better. Especially good drizzled on cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage (we love it over roasted cabbage with vegan sausage and sauerkraut), or serve it on the side for dipping.
- Spoon some over tacos instead of vegan sour cream or crema.
- Swap the vegan Caesar dressing for garlic aioli. If it’s too thick, just thin it out with a splash of water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store the aioli in an airtight jar for 5 to 6 days in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing it because it will separate upon thawing.
Aquafaba is simply the liquid from a can of chickpeas. If your canned chickpeas are salted, add a bit less salt to the aioli, then taste and adjust as needed.
We love the Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise the most here at RPL (it’s also widely available and relatively wholesome for mayo). The flavor is lovely and the texture is creamy, yet airy and not gloopy like traditional mayo. We also like Sir Kensington’s Vegan Mayo.
Try the cheater’s aioli and use a soy-free vegan mayo, like Follow Your Heart Soy-Free Vegenaise.
It’s possible you didn’t measure out enough tofu or accidentally measured too much of the aquafaba or lemon juice, but keep in mind that the aioli will thicken a decent amount when it chills in the fridge.
More creamy vegan dips and sauces
- Vegan Raita (Indian Yogurt Dip) (creamy and cooling)
- Classic Cashew Cream (the perfect all-purpose sauce)
- Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip (a dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe!)
- Cashew Ricotta (for all your indulgent pasta needs)
If you love this Vegan Aioli as much as we do, please be sure to leave a rating and review below :) It’s always much appreciated!
- 3 large garlic cloves (15g)*
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (155g) firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons aquafaba
- ¼ cup (56g) avocado oil*
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper, or several cracks of black pepper, plus more to taste
- Use a grater or microplane to grate the garlic. Add the garlic to a small or medium bowl, along with the salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes to mellow out the pungency of the garlic.
- Drain the tofu, measure it out, and gently pat it dry several times.
- Add the aquafaba to a food processor. Blend until the mixture is frothy (if your machine is large, you may need to hold the base of your food processor and slightly tilt the machine to the side so you can froth the aquafaba). Add the garlic-lemon mixture and blend again. Add the tofu and blend once more until the mixture is smooth.
- With the center cap or spout open, slowly drizzle in the oil (do not add the oil all at once). Blend until very smooth.
- Taste, adding more salt or lemon juice as desired. Add in the white pepper or black pepper. Transfer to a jar, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to thicken and to allow the flavors to meld together (you can serve it immediately though). Stays good in the fridge for 5 to 6 days.
- ¾ cup (150g) vegan mayonnaise*
- 3 garlic cloves (12 to 15g)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Several cracks of black pepper or ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Use a grater or microplane to grate the garlic. Add the garlic to a small or medium bowl, along with the salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes to mellow out the garlic.
- Stir this mixture into the mayo. Transfer to a jar, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.